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In Minnesota Tootsie Pops top the candy list

Candy Corn Butterfingers (Gretchen McKay/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette/TNS)

It's a tradition as sweet as it is time-consuming: your children dumping their haul of trick-or-treat candy onto the living room floor, and then sorting it into piles of keepers and total losers.

A few items are perpetual pleasers, according to the bulk candy seller CandyStore.com, which recently came out with its list of the three most popular Halloween candies in each state.

In Minnesota the top pick is Tootsie Pops, followed by Skittles, followed by Almond Joys.

Americans also apparently love their candy corn (it's No. 1 in six states), though it's just as easy to find people who absolutely detest the humble, tri-colored candy. Manufacturers produce more than 35 million pounds, some nine billion pieces of the candy a year.

One man's treat is another man's poison, of course. So what qualifies as the best Halloween candy is subjective. What these hated goodies have in common is what you should do with them if you don't want to toss them in the trash, give them away or unload them onto your unsuspecting co-workers.

So how about melting candy corn with peanut butter into a thick and creamy paste to make delicious filling for homemade Butterfingers candy?

CANDY CORN BUTTERFINGERS

Yes, you can melt candy corn, and no, it won't explode in the microwave. Mixed with peanut butter, it hardens into a candy that tastes exactly like a Butterfinger. You can thank us later ...

3 cups candy corn

1 cup creamy peanut butter

10 ounces chocolate almond bark or candy melts

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Lightly spray with cooking spray and set aside.

Place candy corn in a large microwave safe bowl. Heat candy corn in microwave on high for 1 minute. Remove and stir until candy is completely melted. Heat for additional time, in 15 second intervals, if needed. In my microwave, it was a total of 1 minute, 45 seconds.

Once candy corn is melted, heat peanut butter in microwave for 25 to 30 seconds, until runny. Stir peanut butter into melted candy corn until completely incorporated.

Turn out onto baking sheet and press down to about 1-iinch thickness (8x8-inch square). While candy is still soft, cut into 1-by-2-inch bars. Let candy cool for 1 hour.

Line a second baking sheet with waxed paper. Melt chocolate according to package directions. With 2 forks, dip each bar into melted chocolate, coating to cover completely. Place on waxed paper to set. Store in an airtight container.

Makes 24 squares.

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